21 top level domains secured in first week

.brand domains have been the most popular to date

ARI Registry Services, formerly AusRegistry International, has signed 21 contracts for new top level domains (TLD) in the first week of applications opening, with .brand TLDs proving the most popular.

ARI Registry Services chief executive, Adrian Kinderis, said the opening of applications on 12 January, which meant established entities across the world could apply to form and operate a new gTLD registry for a fee, had motivated applicants to secure the contracts which are limited.

Generic TLD are new domains set to expand the current 22 top level domains which include .com, .gov and .net and can include almost any word or name, as well as non-Latin language scripts.

Read Should you consider a top level domain?

“We immediately witnessed an influx of enquiries and 21 contracts had been signed by the end of the week,” Kinderis said in a statement. “The majority of these contracts are .brand TLDs, representing some the largest and most recognisable brands around the world.

According to ARI, brands have occupied the highest level of interest with 60 per cent, followed by entrepreneurs with 30 per cent and then governments or other groups with 10 per cent.

By industry, technology brands lead the charge with 20 per cent, followed by banks and other financial service providers.

Kinderis could not yet disclose details around which applicants had secured the contracts due to confidentiality, but said the details would be published on 1 May 2012 by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

Kinderis maintained there was strong demand for the new TLDs despite criticism, and noted that many potential clients were still “sitting on the fence” to “wait and see”.

“We have clients that are still undecided about whether they should apply,” he said. “They have been put off by the negativity that has been surrounding the program. There have been delays and speculation.

“There is also a misguided perception amongst some that they can wait until the next round to secure their brand or generic category name,” he said. “My message to those clients is that there is no certainty about when there will be another round. Potential applicants need to understand that if they take a ‘wait and see’ approach, they may miss out altogether.”

The new TLDs cost $US185,000 to register and attract an annual fee of $US25,000. Organisations must also weigh the cost of running the registry for the domain.

The move to release new TLDs follows a Deloitte study which estimated the .au domain contributed $475 million to the Australian economy in 2011 and created more than 4300 full-time jobs.

The report also identified sectors such as entertainment and financial service as most likely to apply for the new gTLDs.

Follow Chloe Herrick on Twitter: @chloe_CW

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More about: ICANN, Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, NN
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